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Storm sinks duck boat in Missouri, killing 17 people, including children

Storm sinks duck boat in Missouri, killing 17 people, including children”

Divers on Friday pulled the last bodies from the wreckage of a "duck boat" that sank a day earlier during a storm in a lake near a popular Missouri destination, killing 17 people in one of the deadliest USA tourist incidents for years. Another two members of the same family survived when the boat capsized on Table Rock Lake near the tourist town of Branson, the spokesperson said.

Video posted on social media shows that boat making it to shore, as well as the winds and waves attacking the boat.

US President Donald Trump offered his "deepest sympathies" in a Friday morning tweet.

"At Boston Duck Tours, the safety of our guests and our employees is our number one priority and will continue to work closely with our partners at the US Coast Guard, Department of Public Utilities, Boston Hackney Division and Department of Transportation to ensure we maintain these safety standards".

The boat capsized on Thursday evening
GETTY TABLE ROCK LAKE The boat capsized on Thursday evening

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists. Lester's boyfriend, Trent Behr, said they saw the body of a woman in the water and helped to pull her into the boat.

Rick Kettles, the owner of the Lakeside Resort General Store and Restaurant, said he had never before seen such conditions on Table Rock Lake.

While dive teams headed to the scene, people already there began to help, Rader said, a group that included one of his deputies, who was off-duty and performing security on the Branson Belle, a showboat that offers tours across the lake. The driver of the duck boat said he lost control of the vehicle before it veered into oncoming traffic on the Aurora Bridge, according to the NTSB report. Tragically, a tourism boat sank during a storm while out on the lake, killing 17 people and injuring several others. Duck boats, which can travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past.

In 2010, two Hungarian tourists died in Philadelphia when a barge hit a Duck boat on the Delaware River.

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Ride the Ducks Branson released a statement on its website Friday saying: "Words can not convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking".

Safety advocates have sought improvements since the Arkansas deaths. He said he was about to start CPR when an EMT arrived and took over.

Duck boats were originally used by the USA military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

UPDATE-11:45 A.M. EST: The Stone County Sheriff's Department has confirmed to CBS affiliate KOLR-TV that the death toll has risen to 17 on the morning after the incident. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service at 6:32 p.m., more than half an hour before police were called about the boat capsizing.

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The rescue operation was started on Sunday as more rain is expected this week, which would make it harder to rescue the boys. Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said.

Divers quickly located the vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed. Investigators had no information about whether passengers were wearing life jackets or whether they were stowed onboard, the sheriff said.

The duck boat - given that name for its ability to operate on land and in the water - is based off a military design used in World War II. Smagala added this was the Branson tour's only accident in more than 40 years of operation.

The storm was part of the same upper-level weather system that spawned destructive tornadoes Thursday in Iowa, Missouri's northern neighbor. At least 44 people were injured in the accident, which took place on the Aurora Bridge.

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